Produce Prices Are Skyrocketing Due to Heavy Rains. Here’s How to Save
California, are you alright over there, buddy?
It’s been a rough couple years for the Golden State. And the hits, apparently, just keep on coming.
After a pretty nasty drought, the weather on the West Coast decided it would pull a complete 180, and now it’s raining too much. Classic overcorrection, amiright?
The trouble is, farmers are now reporting the heavy rains this winter have delayed harvests and damaged many crops.
This means that over the next several months, we can expect to see produce shortages — and consequently, some serious price hikes on a lot of our favorite foods.
How Much Are We Talking?
Well, according to The Wall Street Journal, cauliflower prices have already jumped from $13 a case to around $48. A case of romaine lettuce has jumped from $12 to $50.
Those are some pretty significant increases.
In a recent news release, California Farm Bureau President Paul Wenger stated, “In the long term, the surge of storms should bring an improved water outlook, but it has definitely brought worries to farmers and ranchers whose land is inundated or whose crops may be at risk.”
So while the rain is a great thing in the long term, it’s seriously wreaking some havoc in the here and now.
‘I’m Kind of a Big Deal.’ – California
California produces a lot (emphasis on a lot) of the fruits and vegetables we consume. We’re talking 90% of the broccoli, 99% of the walnuts and artichokes, 95% of the celery and garlic, 89% of the cauliflower and 71% of the spinach, among many others.
The Wall Street Journal reports that some of the hardest-hit items are strawberries, almonds and celery, although the weather has affected many other crops.
The Salinas Valley, one of the major production areas dealing with these fluctuating weather patterns, exports most of the leafy greens on grocery store shelves. Goodbye, yummy salads.
But It’s Not Just California
While California is the biggest producer of most of the fruits and veggies we eat every day, many other states have also struggled with odd weather patterns in recent years.
While the rain has ruined California crops, the unseasonably warm weather in the Midwest has halted maple syrup production, along with apple and cherry growth.
And while farmers across the country are taking measures to circumvent the odd weather patterns, the highly volatile environment has made it more and more difficult to anticipate these changes in recent years.
Alternatives to Pricy Produce
Fortunately, there are a few ways to soften the financial blow of these produce delays.
If you’re anything like me, you make big plans to plant a garden every spring — and then you don’t. But this year is your year!
A successful garden can save you hundreds of dollars in groceries this year. And if that’s not cost-effective enough, check out this list of backyard garden produce that gives you the most bang for your buck.
If you need tips on how to start your garden (perhaps because you, like me, can manage to kill a desktop bamboo plant overnight), you might find this guide very helpful.
But if weeding a garden just isn’t your ideal way to spend a summer, consider using this trick to get your produce for way less.
Your Turn: What are some tricks you use to keep your produce budget low?
Grace Schweizer is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder. She has big plans for a someday garden, but she also has a black thumb.